Lost Memphis: El Capitan Club



Image courtesy Key Magazine

Regular readers of this blog — mainly mental patients and state prisoners these days, judging from the letters I receive — know that I have a peculiar fascination with the old clubs and discos that dotted the Memphis landscape in the 1960s and 1970s. I've written before about the notorious Whirlaway Club, and El Morocco, and Club Caesar, and others like that.

But while perusing a 1968 issue of KEY magazine, which served as a weekly visitors guide for tourists, I came across this eye-catching ad for El Capitan club, which was located at 1354 Poplar. One thing about it greatly amused me. Take a look: If you go here, you can drink and smoke and stuff yourself with a "fabulous steak." Six days a week, you can hang out here until 1 in the morning. If you're really a wild and crazy guy, you can take to the dance floor with one of their fetching go-go girls.

But look at that last line in the ad. You can do just about anything you want here, but you damn well better not walk through the doors wearing a turtleneck sweater.

Do that, and you've crossed the line.

This popular "Supper Club of Distinction," which claimed to be the first disco in Memphis, is now a parking lot for Kroger. Feel free to wear a turtleneck sweater there, while you shop for your cans of Spam Lite and bottles of Kentucky Nip. I always do.

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Famed Memphis trivia expert Vance Lauderdale answers reader questions weekly here on his blog!

About This Blog

Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and Inside Memphis Business. Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

You can find him from time to time in the pages of the Memphis Flyer and MBQ, on WKNO television, and on Facebook. When he is not exploring the highways and byways of Memphis, he spends his time sleeping, napping, and dozing.

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